North Carolina has some of the toughest DWI laws in the country. So, in Wake County, the consequences for a DWI conviction do not end in courts of law. They can also negatively impact current and future employment opportunities. Whether you are currently looking for work or already have a job, a criminal record is often detrimental in many more ways than one.
Although DWI is not technically a crime of moral turpitude, these convictions may have the following effects on your job and/or your job prospects:
- Missed Opportunities – In most states, including North Carolina, employers may lawfully refuse employment to people with DWI convictions. That’s especially true if you drive or operate heavy machinery for a living. In these situations, most employers rightly consider a prior DWI as a potential safety liability. For instance, if you injure anyone at work, the company could be sued because it knowingly hiring an individual who has a prior DWI.
- Automatic Termination – Many employers have employee handbook policies which list conviction of a criminal offense as grounds for immediate firing. If your employer has such a policy, you will most likely lose your job. Additionally, many employee handbooks also contain mandatory reporting requirements. So, failure to report the conviction could also be grounds for termination.
- Loss of Professional License – If you hold a medical, legal, or any other type of professional license, you must report any criminal arrests or convictions, such as DWIs, to the appropriate agency. Loss of a professional license always means job loss.
- Tardiness and Absences – In many ways, a DWI conviction also indirectly affects your job. For example, if the court or state suspends your drivers’ license, you didn’t obtain an exemption for driving to and from work, and you must rely on other means of transportation (i.e. bus, train, taxi, bus, Uber, Lyft), you may be constantly late to work, resulting in termination. Additionally, court appearances, as well as jail time, could force you to miss work.
The impact DWI convictions can have on current jobs and employment opportunities can be life-altering, so it is imperative to seek assistance from an experienced Raleigh criminal defense lawyer.